The Politically Correct List of Powerful Women
By Bruce Walker
December 13, 2010
Time Magazine has come out with a list: the “The 25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century.” Look it over. It is nothing more than a depressingly familiar collection of Leftists laced with condescending tokenism to the rest of womankind. Jiang Qing, one of Mao’s wives, who was purged almost as soon as he died, is on the list. So is Rachel Carson, the dishonest pseudo-scientist whose lies condemned millions of Third World children to death. There are two token conservatives, neither an American: Angela Merkel, who did not become Chancellor until 2005, and Maggie Thatcher, who was too conspicuous to be left off the list. Consider who was omitted.
Claire Booth Luce was a prolific writer whose aphorisms like “No good deed goes unpunished” have become part of modern language. She was editor of several national women’s magazines; nominee for an Academy award; the authoress of the famous play, The Women; a war correspondent who traveled to all theaters of the Second World War; a three term member of Congress; postwar Ambassador to Italy; then Ambassador to Brazil; she was the first women to receive the Thayer Award at West Point; and served on the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board under Reagan. The most important source of private funding for women in science is the Claire Booth Luce Program. How did Time overlook her? Her husband founded Time Magazine. Mrs. Luce also a powerful, pivotal leader of the conservative movement in America . (So, of course, she was an unperson when the Time list was compiled.)
Ayn Rand, except for her atheism, has been a source of inspiration for conservatives and huge numbers of other Americans. Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead remain as indispensable to understanding the world today as Orwell’s 1984 or Hayek’s The Road to Serfdom. In fact, Atlas Shrugged was picked by the Library of Congress as the second most popular book in publication, after the Bible. A prolific writer with a constant theme which found wide influence, Ayn Rand should have been on the list of the “25 Most Powerful People of the Last Century,” but, alas, Leftist myopia utterly ignored her.
Phyllis Schafly, still very active politically, was pivotal in getting Barry Goldwater nominated in 1964, which was the beginning of political conservatism in postwar America . Her self-published book, A Choice, Not an Echo, sold more than 50,000 copies in California alone, before the Republican Primary, and swung that state to Goldwater. Mrs. Schafly has written 20 books on a wide variety of topics and has founded conservative activist groups like Eagle Forum. Phyllis Schafly is also the only American who can claim to have single-handedly stopped the adoption of a constitutional amendment: when the Equal Rights Amendment seemed certain to be confirmed by state legislatures, her tireless and brilliant efforts stopped it at two seconds to midnight. Time doubtless knows about Phyllis but she is, well, very conservative – and so ineligible.
Dorothy Thompson was actually selected by Time Magazine in the 1939 as one of the two most powerful women in the world (along with Eleanor Roosevelt.) She was a prolific writer and, perhaps, the first American to fully understand the evils of Nazism and the need to stop it before the war. In fact, her book, I Saw Hitler, was published before the Nazis came to power. Dorothy was the first foreign journalist expelled from Nazi Germany and a tireless and very early campaigner to help Jewish refugees from Germany (and, saliently, she worked to help refugees after the war.) In 1942, she authored a declaration against the “cold-blooded extermination of Jews…by the Nazis” which was published by the World Jewish Congress. Thompson was so influential that Katherine Hepburn’s famous “Tess” in the film, Woman of the Year, was based on the life of Dorothy Thompson. So why is Thompson off the list? Although her political views were eclectic, she considered herself “conservative” and in her denunciations of Hitler before the war she was also harsh on Stalin. So this extraordinary and influential woman is off the list.
Elizabeth Kubler-Ross was apolitical and nondenominational, yet she almost single-handedly introduced into an increasingly materialist and agnostic world, concrete proof of life after death. It has been over forty years since she published her groundbreaking, On Death and Dying, which reviewed countless case studies of “Near Death Experiences.” We have hospices today largely because Kubler-Ross felt it imperative that we all go through the five phases of dying. Although many of us, because of our faith, have already believed in a life of the world to come, Kubler-Ross has constructed a very real, empirical framework for a life after death in which we are held accountable for the good and evil we do, and if we kill ourselves or commit great evils, then we face that as well (although she noted these were exceptional cases.) She is hardly a “conservative,” but Elizabeth Kubler-Ross left us all with clear proof of a moral, spiritual universe: God, she proved, is not dead.
Five incredible women transformed our world. Luce, Rand, and Schafly are as much intellectual founders of modern conservatism as any man. Dorothy Thompson, with her incredible prescience of what was happening in the world, may be the greatest prophet of the last century. Kubler-Ross, who eschewed politics in favor of promoting compassion, still kept the ideal of an immortal soul very much alive in our world of computers and robots. Yet none of these were as “powerful” as Madonna, Martha Stewart, Coco Chanel, or Hillary Clinton. Which proves, again, what we already know: Leftism is surreally trite, and for women it is more “Barbie Doll Girl” than Barbie.
Bruce Walker is a long-time conservative writer whose work is published regularly at popular conservative sites such as American Thinker.